Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Alfonso Ramírez was born in Yepómera, Temósachic, Chihuahua, México; his mother’s name was Paula Varela, and his father’s name was Jacobo Ramírez; Alfonso was the eldest of his eleven siblings, and they all grew up on an ejido; he was formally educated through the fourth grade, and he also helped his father in the fields; when he was about fourteen years old, his father began working with the bracero program; as a bracero, he labored in the fields of Colorado, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico and Texas cleaning, pruning and picking beets and lettuce; he completed roughly six contracts; in 1964, during the last year of the program, Alfonso also worked as a bracero in the fields of New Mexico picking cotton; he later immigrated to the United States.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Ramírez briefly talks about his family and what his life was like growing up on an ejido; when he was thirteen years old, he began working for a railroad company in Chihuahua, México; he also continued laboring in the fields and caring for the animals on the ejido; shortly after, his father enlisted in the bracero program and completed roughly six contracts in Colorado, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico and Texas cleaning, pruning and picking beets and lettuce; in 1964, during the last year of the program, Alfonso also joined the program; he describes going through the contracting process in Chihuahua, Chihuahua, México, including the required documents; from there, he was transferred to Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, México in a cargo train; upon crossing into the United States, he was medically examined and vaccinated; as a bracero, he labored in the fields of Las Cruces, New Mexico picking cotton; he goes on to detail camp size, housing, accommodations, amenities, provisions, duties, routines, treatment, payments, deductions, remittances and recreational activities; in addition, he relates other anecdotes about his experiences working as a bracero; he later immigrated to the United States; overall, he has positive memories of his experiences as a bracero, because he learned a great deal and made a better life for himself.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Length of Transcript
Interview with Alfonso Ramirez by Manuel Sanmiguel, 2008, "Interview no. 1369," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.